Appalachia is known for beans & cornbread, biscuits & gravy, and chicken & dumplings. But, the region’s food diversity spreads far beyond that traditional Scots-Irish heritage.
Within this 14-state region, some restaurants take inspiration from every corner of the globe. From Asia to Africa and everywhere in between, international flavors are taking root at these local restaurants:
S&D Polish Deli
Pierogi — boiled wheat dumplings stuffed with potato and cheese and dressed with butter and onions — are the top seller at S&D Polish Deli in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But there are plenty of Polish specialties, like Haluszki, a wide, buttery noodle with cabbage and seasoning.
Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville's nationally acclaimed Ethiopian Restaurant, Addissae, serves up traditional Ethiopian dishes like Kitfo: Freshly minced, extra-lean beef seasoned with Ethiopian spiced butter, cardamom and mitmita (red chili powder). It is served with gomen (collard greens) and ayib (homemade cottage cheese).
Schulz Bräu Brewing
Established in 2016, Schulz Bräu Brewing contains Knoxville’s first German Biergarten. In addition to the craft beer made from German-imported grain, the menu includes genuine German cuisine, such as Fleischkäse Goulash - “One Slice of German Bologna, served on a Bed of Spätzle, Topped with Our Signature Mushroom Sauce, Garnished with Fresh Herbs.”
Arepas Coffee & Bar
This Mississippi restaurant offers a dozen different types of arepas with your choice of base: corn, sweet potato, or plantain. Try the Pabellon, which contains shredded beef, black beans, cheese, and plantains and/or the Chicharron, which features fried pork, Venezuelan cheese and avocados.
If you are looking for authentic Chinese food in Appalachia, look no further than Great Wall in Birmingham, Alabama. Owner Sunny Liu crafts dishes native to Shanghai and Sichuan, including Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Flaming Pan, Dan Dan Noodles, and Chen-Du Beef.
Papi’s Cuban Grill
Enjoy a taste of Cuba at this Georgia-based restaurant by ordering the sampler: (1) Papa Rellena, a fried potato puff filled with seasoned ground beef, (2) Croquettes de Jamon, spiced ground ham patties that are lightly breaded and fried and (4) Yuca Fries, crispy island style fries with Papi’s sauce.
Greenville, South Carolina
Chef Joe Cash has spent years working in some of the best restaurants in the world, like Per Se in New York City and Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark. He is now serving classic French dishes at the Greenville, South Carolina, restaurant, such as duck liver mousse with pistachio, cherry jerez and grilled sourdough, as well as Russian Ossetra Caviar with duck fat potatoes, creme fraiche and chives.
Di Lisio’s Italian Restaurant
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Voted as the best Italian restaurant in Forsyth County, Di Lisio’s Italian Restaurant features comforting Italian American dishes for the whole family, such as Veal Saltimbocca - sauteed veal, fresh herbs, and prosciutto in a marsala mushroom sauce over pasta - and Paccheri Napoli - sauteed lobster cooked in a fresh cherry tomato sauce and topped with fresh lump crab meat.
Gaucho Brazilian Grille
According to the website, you are encouraged to sit back, relax, and spoil yourself at Gaucho restaurant. Gaucho's reinterpretation of famous and traditional Brazilian dishes includes Estrogonofe, a Brazilian Stroganoff with cream sauce and tender Picanha (beef culotte), chopped garlic, sweet onions, and sliced baby mushrooms, all quickly sautéed and combined with a hint of Cognac spirit and adobo and served with a side of jasmine rice and potato sticks.
Pho Viet Restaurant
Pho Viet Restaurant is known for its pho, a rice noodle soup served with bean sprouts, jalapeno, and lime on the side. The beef broth soup can be served with rare beef, well-done flank steak, tendon, trip or beef meatball. Another local favorite are the vermicelli salad bowls, served with vermicelli, lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber, pickled carrot, mint, and fish sauce on the side.
Sawa Japanese Cuisine
Locally owned and operated Sawa Japanese Cuisine in Youngstown, Ohio, brings authentic Japanese to this landlocked state. The sushi bar's entrees include chirashi, seasoned sushi rice topped with assorted raw fish, and sashimi like maguro, hamachi, uni, mackerel, and tako. In addition, the restaurant offers udon, yaki soba, katsu, and more.
Bridgeport, West Virginia
Translated to “very delicious” in Ketawa, the native language of Peru, Miskycha highlights authentic Peruvian meals from the regions of the owners’ childhood. With dishes from the coast, the highlands and the jungle, options are varied and include Huancaina, a spicy, creamy sauce made with Peruvian yellow pepper served over a bed of potatoes, and Lomo Saltado, tender beef, tomatoes, and onions sauteed in soy sauce and served with fries and white rice.
Binghamton, New York
Thai Time might be 8,539 miles away from the native roots of its recipes, but that doesn’t mean the restaurant doesn’t hold true to its cultural heritage. Serving dishes like Tom Yum Goong, a hot and sour shrimp soup with lemongrass galangal kaffir lime leaves, onions, celery, tomatoes, mushrooms and lime juice, Thai Time features classic Thai dishes in addition to fusion meals.